WASHINGTON – Ahead of the unknowns a Trump administration will bring to American Middle East policy, the Obama administration allowed a bracing reminder on Friday that the international community does not recognize the validity of Israel's presence in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The U.S. abstention on the U.N. Security Council vote last week was hardly unprecedented, but neither was it entirely consistent with recent U.S. policy. The Obama administration did not quite endorse Resolution 2334, but its abstention ensured the resolution, reaffirming the illegality of Israeli settlement in lands captured by Israel in 1967, would be adopted. As one of the five permanent members of the 15-member council, the U.S. could have exercised its veto power. Instead, the resolution passed, 14-0.